5 Famous Cats of War

Famous and Well Known Wartime Cats

Cats are often overlooked in the history of military animals, and for the most part, all of our famous wartime cats became so during the 1st and 2nd World Wars, when cats were still very much a part of the naval service – both here in the States and abroad. These were the days when it was essential to have a good ratter/mouser on board to protect the food stores. Like their human counterparts, some cats performed above and beyond their daily service. In other cases, the cats were not official members of the service, but they showed courage under fire, or assisted in the survival of troops on the ground. Here are five cats that stand out for their exceptional wartime actions.

Pictured here, a ship’s cat on the Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Encounter, 1914-1918

5. Crimean Tom

Sevastopol Tom, or Crimean Tom, was an accidental hero. In 1854, when British and French troops occupied the Russian port town of Sevastopol, Tom led the famished troops to caches of food beneath the rubble, which had been hidden all along the waterfront by the Russian defenders. Though not an official military cat, Tom was adopted as a mascot by the grateful soldiers and was taken along to England when the troops were called back.

Image: Jeff Gitchel / via Flickr

4. Tiddles

Tiddles, a born and raised ship cat, served a few Royal Navy aircraft carriers, but served with the HMS Victorious in the early 1940s as the official Captainís Cat. It can be assumed that he performed his duties ably, since he traveled over 30,000 miles during his naval service. He may also be one of the reasons for why the black cat is considered lucky in Great Britain.

*Image is not of Tiddles, but he did look similar to the one pictured.

Image: Bill Ward / via Flickr

3. Faith, the Faithful Church Cat

One of the more well-known cat stories is that of Faith, a cat who made her home at Saint Augustineís Church in London in 1936. On September 6, 1940, the mother of one apparently had a funny feeling and moved her recently born kitten from the warm upper floors to the basement ó just a day before London was hit by German air bombs. She and her kitten, Panda, were rescued from beneath the rubble by Father Henry Ross, and she was later awarded a special medal for “steadfast courage in the Battle of London.”

2. Able Seacat Simon

Able Seacat Simon (his official title), of the Royal Navyís HMS Amethyst, began his career in 1948 as the Amethystís formal ratter. During the time he served, Simon performed his duties so well that he was twice awarded in 1949. The first after a particularly grueling incident with Chinese forces, Simon was awarded an Amethyst campaign ribbon for his valiant service. The next was the Dickin Medal for animal gallantry. Simon is the only cat to have received the Dickin Medal, and when he died, he was buried with full naval honors.

Image: Lt. Commander K. Stewart Hett, M.B.E., R.N. (Ret.) / via Maritime Quest

1. Pfc. Hammer

Even today, a good mouser is still cherished. Pfc. Hammer proved his mettle when he decided to move in with the troops of a U.S. Army unit in Iraq in 2004, killing and chasing away mice that would have devoured or contaminated the soldiers’ food stores. The men were so grateful for Hammerís hard work and affection toward them that they made him an honorary member of their unit, and applied for and received help from Alley Cat Allies and Military Mascots to bring Hammer home to America after their deployment. He now lives in Colorado with his old comrade, Staff Sgt. Rick Bousfield.

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5 Famous Cats of War originally appeared on petMD.com


Chrissie R
Chrissie R22 days ago

Thank you for posting.

Elisa F.
Elisa F4 years ago

Thanks for sharing :)

Victoria M.
Victoria M4 years ago

I keep getting a blank screen with just the words, "invalid request." If you're going to advertise the article, then please give us access to the whole thing!

Sonia Minwer-Barakat Requ

Amazing cats,thanks for sharing

Edvanir L.
Edvanir L4 years ago

So awesome!!

Debra Griffin
Missy G5 years ago


Carrie Anne Brown

great stories, thanks for sharing :)

Joanne D.
Mary Deforest5 years ago

What does this say about today's relentless policy-even by animal tights to destroy "Alley" cats? These wonderful cats wouldn't have existed in many of today's American cities. I have a Chinese friend that feeds about 25 alley cats. A have a Mexican friend actually got ticketed, because he kept water and cat food out on his porch. He still did. On the block behind me are some stray cats that come over and visit.
A friend had her cat escape from the bedroom and out the patio door, when guests were over. They cut the cats ear off to show that it was feral, Then shaved her to spay her. They saw the scar from already being spayed, and then scanned 4 the microchip. My friend takes in foster cats and pays for the food and litter herself, and goes to socialize kittens-and the Humane society did this? They should give them away for $5. For vets. I paid about $500 for my last well vet check for my coonhound.

Guia O.
Guia O5 years ago

i love cats but cant have pets anymore... *sigh*

Cheryl B.
Cheryl B5 years ago